Astor Asset Management is exploring a partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Alinma Bank

CEO Thomas Mellon announced today plans to partner with Saudi Arabian Alinma Bank. The project tailgates a commitment announced last month to expand investments in clean energy companies, specifically in the Saudi region. “We are in serious discussions to partner, purchase, and expand our holdings in the Saudi market. Alinma Bank is one of those partners. After much of the work we did in 2020, solidifying partnerships in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, we are now poised and ready to commit to our connections globally. The potential gains far outweigh any risk involved in a merger. We believe this restructuring benefits Astor Asset Management and our shareholders both in North America and worldwide. During the pandemic, some investors expressed reservations. It was reasonable to want to hold back at that time. However, with a positive forecast into 2025, we are growing so steadily that most shareholders are now fully on board. It is clear to me that this strategy will be a benevolent one for shareholders and clients. Most of the hesitation came from concern of a slowed economy during the pandemic. We continued to communicate with shareholders during that time. Proving in each quarter that we have a solid growth strategy in place while still honoring their concerns. If the merger goes through, the two banks will continue to operate as separate entities until such time that a full or partial buyout occurs. If the plans to fully integrate our products and services move forward, shareholders will be part of the decision moving forward.”

According to an article in Gulf News which sites Moody’s most recent evaluation of the banking sector in Saudi Arabia, it is well poised for a buoyant recovery. As the piece states: “The greater part of the Saudi Arabian banking industry ‘enjoys a good financial position and strong franchise’ says Moody’s Investors Service, which offered a stable outlook for the industry’s average D+ financial strength rating. The banks’ Baa3/Prime-3 ratings for foreign currency bank deposits have a positive outlook, linked to the outlook for the sovereign. The conclusions were part of ‘Saudi Arabia: Banking System Outlook,’ an annual update to the markets that is not a formal action to alter credit ratings.”

Thomas Mellon added: “A merger of this kind only solidifies our strength abroad as a global financial entity. Astor Asset Management brings with it historic growth over the last decade. Alinma has carved out a real reputation in the Saudi M&A niche. Enhanced capabilities created by the merger will add to our collective legacies both in the United States, in the Saudi Arabian market, and internationally.

Presently we have an ambitious, global vision for Astor Asset Management, one that includes Saudi Arabia and one that will continue to include that region in many of our partnerships.”

When asked for further comment on the target date of the merger, there was no additional public statement released. However, Mellon did put a fine point on the discussion.

“We are encouraged. Global mergers have always been part of the goal. It is the next step in our growth phase to announce the partnerships within our global divisions at Astor Asset Management,” added Stefan Frederiksen, Managing Director, Germany. “As it is our long-term goal,” says Mellon, “as an international bank, we continue to be on target with benchmarks. We will continue to provide peak customer service to our elite investors and consumers, regardless of mergers and expansion plans. On the heels of the Alinma announcement, we plan to announce several additional green impact partnerships and clean energy investments in North America, China, and naturally in Saudi Arabia.

Our goal is to demonstrate exponential growth in all quarters and expand to have an increased presence globally. All of which we have been ostensibly showing our stakeholders over the past five years. It’s a time of growth at Astor Asset Management. It continues to be a time of growth with no signs of slowing. As such, we are excited about this partnership and many to come.”

As is typical of the CEO, Astor’s Thomas Mellon shows his ability to assess the perfect timing. His uncanny ability to make decisions even before the market reacts is legendary. According to a market intelligence report on S&P Global Market Intelligence, titled, 2021 US Bank Market Report sees reserve releases offering banks a shot in the arm, Mellon, once again appears to be on target. This ability to predict is why he has earned such trust with shareholders.

Says the report:

“Bank returns should rebound dramatically in 2021 as reserve releases, and net interest margin expansion should drive earnings significantly higher. Bank earnings recovered in the fourth quarter of 2020 as credit costs plunged, with government efforts to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus keeping many borrowers afloat. Against an improved economic outlook, bank earnings are poised to jump more than 40% in 2021 as margin expansion and further reserve releases are in the offing, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s annual outlook for the industry.”

Astor Asset Management has no plans to scale down after a recent planned clean energy investment in Saudi Arabia, a series of China partnerships, and expansion in the Hong Kong region, including adding 500+ new employees. If anything, the scope of business increased during the pandemic. And, at the very least, in the Hong Kong Region, Astor Asset Management is giving the giants like JP Morgan a run-off for the number one position. Once considered a rumored expansion, it has now come to fruition. And, it seems, according to Mellon, the bank looks strong and on pace to continue growth into 2025.

Oliver Hawthorne, Director of Marketing, adds, “We are expanding. We are adding great partners, merging with formidable financial entities. But at the base of this, our stakeholders, investors, and clients, are and will be our first consideration.”

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